People all around the country are watching the latest California wildfires ravage the state, and Friday night, many across social media were feeling frantic over the safety of a giraffe named Stanley who resides in the Malibu Wine Safari attraction. Pictures seemingly showing Stanley abandoned and in danger have been circulated, but now the family who owns the attraction has issued statements sharing that the beloved giraffe is safe.
The Malibu Wine Safari is a popular attraction in California. Many celebrities have spent time there, like Khloe Kardashian and Malika Haqq, former Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants, Mario Lopez and his family, and plenty of others. Stanley the Giraffe is a popular resident of the attraction and his safety became one of many people’s concerns as the California wildfires spread.
On Friday, photos started going viral across Twitter and Instagram that purported to show Stanley left at the Malibu Wine Safari property with the smoke and flames of the fire rapidly approaching him. Someone claimed that they had been working all day trying to save Stanley but they begged for media attention to bring awareness to the situation.
A handful of celebrities started spreading the word as well, with people quickly becoming outraged that the owners of the attraction would seemingly leave the giraffe behind, presumably because it was too complicated to move him. Singer Lance Bass shared the photos, and Modern Family actress Ariel Winter helped spread the word of the supposed problem, too. Khloe Kardashian also noted concern via her Twitter page and shared notes she was exchanging with her family about her worries.
— Lance Bass (@LanceBass) November 10, 2018
Late Friday night, the family that owns the Malibu Wine Safari posted an update to the attraction’s Instagram page. They thanked everybody for the concern and noted that their team had begun preparing for evacuations due to the fires late the previous night. They said that while they have lost a fair portion of their facilities, their focus was on keeping all of the animals and staff safe.
While they say that a small number of their animals were unaccounted for late Friday night, the family assured everybody that Stanley the Giraffe is safe. Madison Semler, a member of the family who owns Malibu Wine Safaris, shared a note via the attraction’s Instagram Stories detailing that the situation was under control and they did not need help. She noted that news reports detailing otherwise were false.
View this post on Instagram
Thanks to everyone in the community for your prayers and support through this difficult time. Our amazing animal care and facilities team began preparing for evacuations late last night and because of their efforts we have survived the fire. Our management team and animal trainers are onsite right now feeding, providing water, repairing enclosures, and caring for our animal family (including Stanley). While we have lost a considerable portion of our barns and facilities, our primary concern is the lives our animal and human families. We have a small number of number of animals unaccounted for but the search is continuing through the night. Your offers of support are deeply appreciated and as we begin the reconstruction process we will reach out to neighbors to help with this process!
In addition, Samantha Cortese of KTLA in Los Angeles shared a statement from the family via her Twitter page late Friday night. It echoed what the family posted on Instagram, including details of how they prepared Stanley’s living area to ensure he would stay safe.
Staff and a giraffe specialist were reportedly with Stanley Friday night and the family says they stayed with him until they were forced to leave the area. The family added that these animals are their family and they were clearly quite distressed by the viral accusations that they simply abandoned the giraffe without trying to ensure his safety.
Stanley the Giraffe is SAFE. I just got this statement from the Semler family, contradicting recent posts circulating social media. They say they’ve “lost everything” and know how much the community cares for these animals. #stanleythegiraffe @KTLA pic.twitter.com/RKdwc9CqSA
— Samantha Cortese (@SamanthaCortese) November 10, 2018
Unfortunately, at this point, not everybody believes that Stanley the Giraffe is safe and out of harm. It’s not entirely clear where the photos that went viral came from, or whether they were even legitimate, and people are hoping to get further clarification and photos of Stanley soon. There are people on social media who assert that the family might be lying about Stanley’s welfare, but at least for now, everybody will have to hang tight and wait for further updates.